After giving my life priorities some thought, I created this 30 by 30 list. I loved going through this exercise of finding 30 things big and small that seem achievable individually, but when put together I know will make a big splash in my life.
I'm excited to come back to this list in 365 days to see what actually gets done, but I'll surely be making blog updates before my year is up. Wish me luck!
- Try The Whole 30 Program (aka The Ultimate Paleo diet: more info here)
- Finish all 24 weeks of BBG1 and BBG2
- Conquer the Crow Pose (aka practice yoga more)
- Run a 10k: Bay to Breakers! - already signed up!
- Hit my weight goal
- Host a themed dinner party
- Learn to make 3 signature cocktails
- Cook around the world: learn cook 6 dishes total from at least 3 different countries/cultures
- Build my backyard vegetable garden
- Take parents out on a fun day trip
- Plan quarterly “fun events” with extended family
- Learn 5 Chinese recipes from family - Mom’s vegetarian sour noodle soup, something fun from Uncle Mike
- Cook a vegetarian meal for mom
- Document extended family’s birthday in calendar
- Get a promotion
- Learn and practice calligraphy
- Paint a large canvas for the house
- Curate my Capsule Wardrobe (see Capsule Wardrobe 101 from unfancy.com)
- Earn $1 from my business idea, “BB”
- Figure out my decorating style: Create one entire space in house that I feel is “Pinterest worthy” and then put it on Pinterest
- Post five new Whole 30 recipes
- Foodies Guide to NY
- Things I’ve learned living in NYC post
- Maintain an editorial calendar
- Clean out my junk from parent's house
- Replenish emergency fund
- Volunteer in the East Bay
- Make photo books for Italy and Iceland trip
- Build a piece of furniture from scratch (buying real wood, staining wood, etc)
- Finish 30 by 30 list ;)
During my first real winter in New York, I started experiencing something weird that I've never had happen to me: I started having the skin on my eyelids dry out and peel.
Not only did it look a bit gross, I ended up not wearing any makeup for weeks trying to figure out what to do about my dry skin. I googled all kinds of phrases to get an answer.
I typed into Google search: "peeling skin on eyelids winter", but came out empty handed, despite trying to phrase my problem in a million different ways to try to find a way to fix my dry skin.
Conventional wisdom would tell you that if you had dry skin, you should put on a moisturizer to help restore moisture. But the skin above your eyes is a sensitive area and a heavy winter cream just wouldn't do. It makes it all greasy - and even then it didn't heal.
It wasn't until I told my coworker Amanda about my weird skin did she suggest Atoplam's Intensive Moisturizing Cream to me. Amanda's a fancy gal so I was afraid that this was going to cost me. Even then, I was desperate for my skin to stop peeling. So imagine my surprise when she told me I could easily get Atopalm from Amazon for a little under $20?!
Ordered it, used it above the skin on my eyes and within a few days, my peeling skin was magically fixed, and the rest is history.
Atopalm is seriously the best: it's moisturizing but in a very lightweight formula that doesn't have my combination skin feeling like a grease ball right after I'm done applying it. Now I use Atopalm as my night time moisturizer all year long, not just for winter. But during the harsh winter where cold wind is chapping your skin, it's even more necessary.
Anyways, if this post helps even one person, I will be happy that I wrote it since as you know I rarely write about skincare, but this cream is LEGIT.
For more winter tips, see my post: How to survive a New York Winter.
If you've been a long time reader of this blog, then you know that I started becoming really sushi-obsessed just a little over two years ago. Before that, the sight of this would have made me a little bit nervous:
But now I'm staring at my laptop, ready to lick the screen. Seriously, it's like uni uni uni uni, ADIDAU - All Day I Dream About Uni. Ready to eat this all by myself.
To be completely honest, prior to this obsession with sushi, I just didn't understand why fish on top of rice costed so much. If I were to pay an arm and a leg for dinner, I should have an army of chefs cooking my food right? Ummm, wrong.
I didn't appreciate the skill and precision that went into a flawless omakase dinner until I watched Jiro Dreams of Sushi and had my first true omakase experience at Sushi Nakazawa. It really opened my eyes and got me hooked. So it's no wonder that I wanted sushi as my last fancy meal as a Manhattanite.
We chose O Ya for my last meal for several reasons. As I mentioned, O Ya opened just a few blocks away from my apartment, so I saw it every day on my way to work and it creeped into my subconscious.
I was hesitant to go when I found out that O Ya's claim to fame is that it's the best sushi place in Boston...I mean, what does Bahhston know about sushi right? But then my most trusted NYC foodie Amanda ate here for her birthday and said to me, "Top 5 meals in NYC."....I knew I had to take a second look. I mean... that's a bold statement coming from the queen of good eats.
The final cherry on top that makes this meal perfect for me was that their omakase was called Okii Ringo, which is Japanese for Big Apple.
This blog post is very special to me because it marks the end of an era. I chose to go to O Ya as my last fancy meal in NYC. It's a new ...
With my days numbered as a New Yorker, I made a list of all my essential NYC eats, a 60-Day Eating Bucket List. I had a good mix of new places that I needed to check out and repeats of places that I'd miss the most.
It's not that I couldn't come visit NYC to have another eating adventure, but it would never be the same. So many eats, so little time - you know? In July, I did a decent job making my way through this list, but our last 30 days here was when J and I seriously did some damage.
Here's what we ended up eating, rated on a scale of Shelly Stars and how much each place makes me miss NYC.
★★★★ - Absolutely Amazing, would move back to NYC for this
O Ya - Ooooo ya!? That's definitely what I was screaming after our meal here. It is the single most memorable meal that we had all summer, if not year. When I originally heard about this place, the snobby NYC foodie in me originally turned my nose up to the selling point of this place.
"It's the best sushi place in Boston. The owners Tim and Nancy (Cushman) wanted to bring their amazing concept to NYC!!"
Ummm, what does Bawston and two non-Japanese folks know about amazing sushi right? Apparently everything.
This isn't your typical omakase, and that's what made this so exciting. Say hello to Fingerling Potato, Summer Truffle and a touch of honey nigiri. Or, how about nigiri that reminds you of a bagel (smoked salmon and a hint of tomato). "Is this real life?", I kept asking myself as I took another bite of this 24-course omakase. Yes, there is a high price tag that goes along with this meal. But, this is our last meal here in NYC, and everyone in my group of 6 thought it was worth it.
Will have a dedicated post for this meal soon because this amazingness deserves to live in this blog forever :)
Major Food Porn Alert. If you can get through this blog post without salivating, check your pulse because you're dead to me. With my d...
I've also joined ClassPass to compensate for being such a fatty for the past month. Trying to do a workout for every restaurant I hit up, eek! I've actually made my way through 15 different classes in a month, but I'll save the details about that in another post.
This post is about the #foodporn. I wanted to quickly share with you my July Restaurant Roundup since I've been dining out way too often to have time to blog about any of my meals in detail, so here's the cliff notes. For the really great places, I'll do individual posts when I have more time.
So, in order of Shelly Stars...
★★★★ - Absolutely Amazing, Eat ASAP!
Cosme - my meal here was so amazing that it deserves two pictures. Cosme is the brain child of Chef Enrique Olvera - the chef of Pujol in Mexico City. Pujol is ranked the No. 16 in S. Pellegrino's World's 50 Best Restaurants for 2015. People have been stalking Cosme even before it opened, and now I know that the hype is real.
I came with a group of 5 and we pretty much ordered EVERYTHING on the menu because the entire menu looked so delicious. While not all dishes were zOMG amazzzing, there were so many standout dishes that makes me want to come back again and again.
The clear winner is the Duck Carnitas that's meant for 2, but honestly 4 people can get stuffed by this. They debone a whole duck and slow cook it in the oven for eight hours in Mexican coke and condensed milk. There is nothing else like this in Manhattan right now - and they even serve it with the freshest tortillas you will find in the East Coast.
Other musts are the Uni Tostada (hello, uni forever) and their Husk Meringue With Corn Mousse dessert.
I got a few requests to post my itinerary for my Italy trip, so here it is! When I was planning my trip to Italy, I quickly learned that two weeks was just not enough to visit all the amazing destinations in Italy. I could spend forever in that country!
This was my first time in Italy so I focused on visiting the most popular cities: Rome, Venice and Florence. Another must for me was Cinque Terre since I love how colorful and cheery the cityscape looked in contrast to the bright blue ocean.
If you want to do a true Italy-only trip, it's super easy to take the train to Milan instead of to Nice from Cinque Terre and fly back home to the US from there.
I got a few requests to post my itinerary for my Italy trip, so here it is! When I was planning my trip to Italy, I quickly learned that tw...
Readers who have followed this blog for a while now know that I am a Momofuku fan girl. I won't claim that everything that Chef David Chang touches is z-OMG the best evaaa (ahem Noodle Bar you're kinda whack), but the Momofuku group definitely puts out more hits than misses for me. The Bo Ssam from Momofuku Ssäm Bar is clearly a crowd favorite.
While David Chang has been huge in the culinary world for almost a decade now, the Momofuku brand has only had a presence in NYC, Toronto or Sydney. Unless you're in these 3 cities, you're not getting any Momofuku love. Chef Chang has mentioned that he dreams of bringing great food into the suburbs of the United States one day. And....this dream begins with Fuku.
Fuku is the newest Momofuku concept which only serves fried chicken sandwiches in a fast-food type of environment. Because let's face it, who doesn't love fried chicken?!
The menu is simple. Literally, you can only order a spicy chicken sandwich, fries, a fuku salad and drinks. The Lunch Combo includes the sandwich, fries and a non-alcoholic drink - but I say skip the combo cause the steak fries are "meh" compared to what you get in your sandwich.
Seriously, they were so blah that I forgot to take a picture of them. Anyway, here's where all the action was:
I'm telling you, this Fried Chicken Sandwich is HUGE. Basically you're using the lightly mayo'ed potato roll bun as a way to hold the spicy fried chicken thigh with your hands, without your hands getting greasy.
No joke - the chicken is almost 2x the size of the whole bun!! This results in a few bites of straight up chicken, sans bun. Not complaining here. The batter on the chicken is just right, not too thick nor too thin. The chicken is said to be marinated in habanero puree and buttermilk, covered in a spice blend, and then deep fried. The habanero spice in the mix gives it just a tad of spice - nowhere near as spicy as the habanero fried chicken I've had at Momofuku Má Pêche. Much to my disappointment, but my non-spicy friends' relief I bet.
The pickle helps give this a bit more contrasting flavors as it helps cut the fat a bit. But seriously, considering how well fried this chicken is, you don't even have to really worry about it being overly greasy. I'm telling you it's fried chicken perfection.
Since I'm a nerd who reads a ton of food blogs, I found out about the secret menu item: The Koreano (Thanks Eater!). You can ask for this picked daikon slaw to be added to your sandwich - and I'm telling ya - you definitely have to ask for it because it's clutch.
Between the two sandwiches, with or without the daikon slaw, the one with is a clear winner for me. I love how it adds a touch of sweet and vinegary sweetness to the bite. It's also chilled, so it helps creates some hot and cold action for your enjoyment. #winning
So besides the sandwich, another thing they're having fun with here at Fuku is their drinks menu.
We ordered Fuku's version of a michelada just to try it out. It's a Tecate + their signature Ssäm Sauce + some worcestershire sauce. Worked great with the sandwich. J had the 163 Ice Tea which was also awesome (and I would recommend it over my own michelada). It's made with gin, vodka AND rum, plus Dr. Pepper and tea. BOOM. Your fast food game will be changed forever.
Some final thoughts before you venture out to Fuku to get your hands on this sandwich:
- Standing room only - this is not a place to hang out for a long time unless you're planning to hang out in line.
- If you hate lines like I do, go grab a bite right around 3:45pm. When I went, there was barely a line (5 mins wait max), and they were serving sandwiches right up until 4pm when they close for lunch.
- According to their website, they JUST started opening for dinner. Check back regularly for updates since they've only been open for a month. For now, their hours are: Lunch Wed – Sun / 11 am – 4 pm, Dinner Fri – sat / 6 pm – 11 pm
- My perfect order: The Koreano Sandwich (secret menu item with the pickled daikon slaw) + 163 Ice Tea. No fries (unless you're dying for fries and you're hungry AF), no salad (who are we kidding here). You'll definitely be full unless you're a monster. And if that's the case, just go up a few blocks to Momofuku Milk Bar and pick yourself up some dessert.
- Spicy food loving friends - there's nothing spicy here for you. Even the Ssäm sauce was mild in flavor. Hopefully Chang recognizes that and adds something for us!
Guys, meet my newest obsession in the East Village: Fuku. [Insert lame F-word joke here.] Readers who have followed this blog for a while...
I came here because I've heard great things about their lamb burger, but after this meal, the one thing I will continue to rave about is this Scotch Egg. I mean just look at it! For those unfamiliar with this popular appetizer from the UK, a Scotch Egg is a boiled egg, wrapped with sausage meat and then deep fried with breadcrumbs for a super crispy exterior. A hearty breakfast invention dating back to the 1700s.
The Breslin's Bar version of this classic is truly show-stopper. I swear to you the people sitting at the table next to us couldn't stop staring at this dish. Then when I slowly cut my egg in half for some egg yolk porn? They almost snatched the dish from me! And I wouldn't blame them - this really tasted as good as it looked.
Now more about this famous Char-grilled Lamb Burger, named one of the best burgers in the city. When you use the best ingredients in the world, your food will naturally taste great. In this case, the lamb patty is made with American lamb which makes this burger mild and sweet, not gamey at all like Australian lamb often is. Then to make it even better, it's sourced locally from Pat LaFrieda, one of the most well known meat suppliers in the city, known for making custom blends of burgers for the best restaurants in NYC.
To really let the patty shine, this burger is simply topped with some feta cheese and sits on a fresh ciabatta bun that ends up soaking up all the juices from the lamb. It comes with thrice-fried fries which are truly out of this world crunchy which I just love.
The group of 5 of us didn't get here till 9pm for dinner, and had to wait about 45 minutes without a reservation (can't make a same day ressie past 4pm). So we got a bit aggressive and ordered a tadddd too many small plates to share at the bar:
Small PlatesCaramel Popcorn - made in house - $5
Chicken Liver Parfait - supppper delicious on toast, a touch of sweetness - $9 - recommended*
Beef and Stilton Pie - a true English classic - $10 each
Scotch Egg - DEFFFFINITELY recommend per above review - $9 each
Chargrilled Lamb Burger - feta, cumin mayo & thrice cooked chips - $22
Smoked Lamb Ribs - cucumber, yogurt, roasted tomato vinaigrette - $18 - preferred this over burger
Rib Beef on Toast - beef fat fried filone with horseradish cream & arugula - $18
Seafood Sausage - beurre blanc & chives - $19 - not worth the price tag
Sugar Snap Peas - lime yogurt & benne seed - $9 - to say we ate some vegetables ;)
Milk Braised Berkshire Shoulder - milk curds, kale & crispy sage - $32
The Breslin has a huge bar area in the front where you can grab quick drinks and a bite with friends (they serve the whole menu at the bar), or you can go back to their dining area. The atmosphere is kind of a luxe and kitchy, decorated with pig and cow figurines, hanging animal heads and leather booths. Overall it's a great space to meet up with some friends, order a crap ton of food and share. My personal faves here were all the small plates we shared. By the time we got to our mains, I was stuffed and could barely take bites of the food.
If you couldn't already tell from all the dishes we ordered, The Breslin has a heavy focus on meats - they even serve several different large format meal meant for huge groups. The most interesting of them all is their whole suckling pig meal. If you're interested, you can grab 8-14 of your closest buds and order it for $90 per person. Do it 7 days ahead - details here.
So YOU KNOW I've been making a list and checking it twice. My foodie list that is.
When thinking about what I'll miss the most from NYC, there's a few categories for me.
- The top of my list is all the Japanese food here - I'm thinking mainly izakayas (Hello: Sake Bar Hagi) and ramen, so you'll see a good amount of those on the list.
- Close second is Korean eats like Pocha 32's budae jjigae and the most amazing Korean Fried Chicken at Mad for Chicken. Truly the best kind of KFC.
- Delicious Italian food. Think amazing NYC Pizza from Marta or just the street corner. There's also fancy places like dell'anima that I'm dying to finally try.
- Cheap eats. Mamoun's in St. Mark's is a must and where am I going to get my Sichuan fix now? Will def pick up a bowl of X'ian Famous Food's Noodles. Then, there's Shake Shack which I don't think I can compare to In n Out since I'm a Cali girl at heart, but I do love those crinkle fries. Oh, and not sure how much this counts as a cheap eat, but Handy Nasty, I will never forget you and will definitely have to pay a visit to say goodbye.
It's definitely going to be a crazy 60 days of eating adventures...
Update: Here's a roundup of the restaurants we ended up going during July and then our last 30 days in August.
Fo'Sho Hitting These Up
New & Want to Try
|Takashi Ramen||Ramen Lab||Dassara Ramen|
Repeats of Food I'll Miss the Most
|Mad for Chicken||Kang Ho Dong||Ippudo|
|Totto Ramen||Pocha 32||Mourmon's|
|Shake Shack||X'ian Famous Foods||2nd Ave Deli|
|Sake Bar Hagi||Curry Ya||Han Dynasty|
|Desnuda||Halal Guys||Sushi Dojo|
Want to go if I have time
Italian & Pizza
|Carbone||Parm||il Buco Alimentari & Vineria|
|15 East||Hakata Tonton|
Bagels & Brunch
|Brooklyn Bagel||Black Seed Bagels||Russ & Daughters Café|
|Clinton Street Bakery||Élan|
Other Good Eats
|Betony||Momofuku Ko||The Dutch|
|Spotted Pig||Breslin||M. Wells Steakhouse|
|Wolfgang's Steakhouse||BLT Prime||Little Beet Table|
Foodie Friends: What am I missing here on the list? If you had 60 days left in NYC, what places would you be hitting up?
You guys, my imminent move back to California is finally happening. After 4 years of living in Manhattan, my move date is set for end of su...
The first one that I've been able to visit is Sakagura, a cute Japanese restaurant that's tucked in a basement under one of the many high-rises in Midtown East.
The bestie was in town so I took the afternoon off, and we got to share the Sakagura Lunch Tasting Course for $33. This is probably meant for one person, but we were pretty satisfied and full enough from sharing it.
It starts off with a sashimi appetizer of 4-5 kinds of fish. I was happy to see they served hotate which was just so fresh and sweet.
The main course features 3 dishes and a side of cold handmade soba. I loved that it came in a little tower since it made it feel a bit like tea-time, except this version is a million times more exciting to me.
The batter on the tempura is light, crispy and the oil tastes fresh (you know, like they didn't reuse the same oil for 15 years...). The grilled fish was perfectly grilled with just enough seasoning. Beef had a bit more sauce than I would prefer but overall a great lunch!
We ended with a dessert with THE BEST dessert - Black sesame creme brûlée with ice cream. Loved everything about this, the fragrant sesame pair with the extra piece of crunch on top. This is a must!
So recap: Sakagura is definitely a spot to hit up if you're in Midtown East looking for Japanese lunch specials. Looking through the menu, I would definitely come back to try some of their cheaper lunch sets (menu here).
I'm personally eyeing the $11.50 Thursday lunch special of Bara Chirashi Don. Mmmmm...
Come early with your whole party, wander through the lobby of the building and head towards the basement. Or you can just follow the Japanese business men and women straight to the restaurant.